Sunday, April 12, 2009

Something Smells Rank

...and it's Amazon.

Well, proving once again that even the irresistible marketing force that is Amazon is prone to hubris and hypocrisy equal to any soulless government bureaucracy, Amazon's PTB have rejiggered their sales ranking system to exclude what it deems "adult content".

By Amazon's definition, "adult content" = books on parenting for gays and lesbians, YA fiction with sex or gay characters, erotica, GLBT romance (even the sweet variety), dozens of Aphrodisia and HQ Blaze novels (and mine, I would assume), and Lady Chatterly's Lover.

By Amazon's definition, "all-ages content" = Mein Kampf, books on dogfighting, Playboy: Wet and Wild Complete Collection, Playboy: The Complete Centerfolds, graphic novels depicting incest orgies, the memoirs of porn stars, and American Psycho.

Clearly, their first concern is the moral well-being of the children. We must think of the children!

Why is this a problem, you ask? Because Amazon's sales ranking system and search engine are symbiotic. Exclusion from the sales ranking means your book will not turn up on the search engine--or in those stupid emails they're still sending me (after buying ONE book from them) suggesting that because I bought Stacia Kane's Personal Demons, I might like every other urban fantasy ever written. It's the brick and mortar equivalent of a bookstore removing your book from the shelves and making readers go to customer service to request it by name.

It also means (oh, the irony) that when gay and lesbian parents looking for info on raising kids enter the keywords "homosexual" and "parenting" into the search engine, it will spit out A Parent’s Guide to Preventing Homosexuality.

I'd laugh if it wasn't so stupid.

But there are things that can be done. You can sign a petition here.

You can write a nasty email addressed to or phone them at 1-800-201-7575.

And the Smart Bitches have a cunning (and winningly bitchtastic) plan to mess with Amazon's Google presence. All you gotta do is stick this link: Amazon Rank somewhere conspicuous and encourage people to click on it. A lot. As the number of clicks increases, that post will creep up the Google ranking, and eventually, when people google Amazon Rank, they'll be directed first to the awesome new definition the SBs have come up with.

So, go on, have at them. Do your worst.


MB (Leah) said...

You are lucky in that last I looked, your books are still ranked. But I wonder how long before they catch on that there's some girl/girl stuff in it and pull it.

A lot of Samhain's books are still there but there seems to be no pattern in what they are de-ranking.


I did the Google bomb for MB and LVLM blog and wrote them a letter.

kirsten saell said...

From what I gather, they're removing anything erotic. The f/f might get it pulled quicker than a het erotic romance, but I think anything with lots of steamy sex will end up pulled.

Well, except for Playboy, Penthouse (nekkid pictures apparently don't count as sexual content), and graphic novels--because hey, those are just comic books, and comics can't be pornographic or anything, right?